CHAD - I recently have had a lot of questions about the church. Your website has helped me some. I read the section on polygamy which was helpful but I still have some questions I was wondering if you had thought about them, and if you had any ideas. From reading from the church geneology website I can see the list of wives of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and others. It shows in many cases that the women who they married already had husbands still living, which is called Polyandry. If the reason for polygamy is to raise seed unto the Lord, what is the purpose of the Polyandry that went on, and where is the justification from the bible or elsewhere?
Also, it is taught that polygamy will happen during the millennium and in the celestial kingdom. I'm assuming people will not enter into polygamist marriages in the Celestial Kingdom, but will polygamist marriages occur during the millennium?

JOEL - Polyandry was practiced for a different purpose than polygamy. Polyandry involved the sealing of a man and woman for eternity, without earthly cohabitation. Many early Mormons had living parents and spouses who weren't members of the church and consequently were not eligible for sealing blessings. At that time they felt the solution for this was for them(men or women) to be sealed to someone who would most likely gain exaltation, such as the prophet Joseph Smith.
The scriptural justification for polyandry probably relates to the requirement to be sealed to someone as described in D&C 132, to obtain exaltation. This sealing practice did not mean that Joseph Smith was in any kind of earthly marital relationship with these women. The women continued to live with their own original husbands or families. In fact, not only was Joseph Smith sealed to other women, he was also sealed to men as well; some even after his death. Generally speaking this practice was referd to as the "law of adoption", which included the practice of polyandry. I have answered a similar question regarding this at this page.

Regarding Celestial marriage Jesus said:

"And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:"(Luke 20:33-36, See also D&C 132:15-17).

These scriptures are explaining that once one has been resurrected, judged, and assigned to "that world" (Celestial Kingdom), there is no longer the possibility to be married or sealed to someone. Therefore there will be no new single or plural marriages performed in the Celestial Kingdom. However, sealings will of course be continued both for the living and by proxy for the dead throughout the Millennium.

It is uncertain, however, whether plural marriage will again be reinstated during the Millennium. The opinion of some, including that of a few past general authorities, is that it will be reinstated, and claim support for this from the following scripture in Isaiah:

1. AND in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. 2. In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. (Isaiah 4:1-2)

Something to consider, however, is that in the original Hebrew text, verse one in Isaiah 4 is actually placed at the end of Chapter three as seen in Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible. If read in this context, rather than refering to plural marriage during the millennium, one could reason that the war that stripped Israel of her leadership and disgraced the daughters of Zion and killed off most of the men(See Isaiah 3:25-26), left a ratio of women to men at about seven to one. So these women, who once had lost sight of their divine role, were now desperate and have been humbled, and are willing to do anything to have the reproach of being childless removed, even to the point of sharing one husband among several of them. But regardless of how one interprets this, there really is no official church position on this matter; only opinion.

Return to top
Return to Questions